Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Renovation Diary: Mantel Makeover

 Just a quick update on the mantel.
I hadn't planned to tinker with it, mainly because I love painted brick.
But one thing led to another, a sort of viral situation known as "The Creeping Project."
Anyway, here's a "before" picture:
At first, I had planned to install the mantel over the bricks. The mantel was propped against the masonry. I thought about it a long while and decided to drywall above the fireplace and on the sides.
It's not a "biggie," as viral projects go, but I love how it turned out.
Mantel Makeover
1. Sheetrock covered the bricks. There was a big discussion about codes
between Mike (my GC) and Jimmy (cabinet maker). The bricks that surround
the firebox were not covered, of course.
2. A mantel was made. (First, my husband met with the carpenter/cabinet maker and chose the "legs" of the mantel.)
3. Carrera marble was installed inside the firebox area, where the bricks are, and on the flat surface (on the top) of the raised hearth.  Fireworks in Nashville, TN installed the marble.
4. Trim covered the bottom of the raised hearth.
5. A coat of paint: BM Simply White (satin finish).
The FP is set up for gas or wood logs. So that's another decision to make.
Decorating will come last.
Speaking of decorating a mantel . . . here's my FAQ on Mantelscaping:
Decorating a mantel can be a challenge. So I developed a helpful glossary to explain the various ins and outs of "mantel-scaping."

MANTEL PAUSE -- A mantel in a middle-aged house; the mantel can experience mood changes and hot flashes.

DOCUMANTEL -- Decorating a mantel with books.

ADJUSTMANTEL--An adjustment to a mantelscape. It can be tiny--moving an accessory one eighth of an inch--or it can involve major tinkering.

ALIMANTEL -- Decorating a mantel with food.

DETRI-MANTEL -- A mantelscape that is so horrid, so detrimental to your overall design scheme that you want to cry, brick up the fireplace, or move.
DETRI-MANTEL can also be used as a condition to describe plasma TVs over a fireplace.

ENVIRONMANTEL -- Decorating a mantel with "green" or recycled items.

EXPERIMANTEL -- The act of adding and subtracting various accessories. This can also describe the use of unusual or outlandish objects on a mantel.

FRAGIMANTEL -- Decorating a mantel with breakable knicknacks.

FUNDAMANTEL -- the "411 Basics" of mantelscaping, which include visual balance and an uneven number of accessories.

FRAGMANTEL - A mantel that's decorated on one end.

INSTRUMANTEL -- Decorating a mantel with musical instruments.

INSURMANTEL-ABLE -- A mantel that cannot--and will not--be decorated.

MANTEL ABUSE -- Rearranging accessories on a mantel more than 500 times a day.

MANTEL BREAKDOWN -- a condition that arises after many hours of rearranging accessories (see MANTEL ABUSE)to no avail. Nothing looks right. Shopping trips end in failure. Extreme frustration results. The mantel is stripped bare.


MANTEL ILLNESS -- Occurs when mantelscapes are not touched for years. The accumulation of dust results in a condition that can cause sneezing and hives. It can be reversed by tearing down the old mantelscape and replacing it with a new one. By using MANTEL-IMAGERY, one can save time and money before going shopping.

MANTEL IMAGERY -- Imagining how your mantel will look with objects that are not sold in stores. These accessories might not exist--but if they did, your mantel would be perfect.

MICROMANTEL-ING -- When ADJUSTMANTELING is taken to an extreme. It can also refer to a mantel that features minature accessories.

MON-U-MANTEL -- A mantel that is so hard-to-decorate, it turns into a monumental task. Also, this can refer to an over-sized mantel.

NON-JUDGMANTEL -- The wisest approach for family members when the decorator of the mantel (spouse, friend, mother) asks for opinions on the latest mantelscape. (Similar to a situation involving Itty Bitty Lies--this occurs when you ask your spouse if an outfit makes you look fat.)

ORNAMANTEL-- A highly decorated mantel.

PREDICT-A-MANTEL -- A Predictable way to decorate a mantel. Associated with an extreme case of NOAH'S ARK SYNDROME.

REGIMANTEL -- The process of putting the mantel into order. Organizing a mantel. Also, the type of decor preferred by Generals.

RUDIMANTEL-- This word has two mantel-meanings. It can refer to basic mantelscaping. It can also refer to an incompletely decorated mantel.

UN-ORNAMANTEL -- a Zen mantel.

SENTIMANTEL -- a type of mantel decor that appeals to the heart, if not always the "eye."

TEMPERMANTLE -- A moody mantle, prone to outbursts.

Contributed by Carol Edwards:
MICKEY MANTEL -- A type of mantelscaping that is associated with a Disney obsession and features Mickey Mouse whatnots. It can also refer to a baseball themed mantel.

Contributed by Susan/Between Naps on the Porch:
GOVERNMANTELING - Furnishing a mantel with priceless artifacts, causing the IRS to freeze your bank account, conduct an audit, and/or visit your house in person.

See you tomorrow night at Foodie Friday. Stay warm!
Note: Before embarking on a DIY fireplace makeover, check the building codes in your region.

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  1. What an amazing difference. It changes everything - sounds like a song about love doesn't it :)

  2. You crack me up! Only a writer would come up with a glossary for mantelscaping. '-)
    Love the new look!

  3. Is it safe to put a fire in the fireplace with the flammable sheetrock covering the bricks?

    1. A good question, Lynda. I forwarded it to my General Contractor. Here's his answer: "Michael, the Sheetrock is outside the non-combustible marble that surrounds the whole fireplace and hearth. There is nothing combustible until you get to the wood mantel."